Slowly but surely

Further to our 'Heads Up' Article in January, setting out all of the upcoming employment changes for 2013, it would appear that the changes outlined in the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act 2013 are now slowly but surely trickling through.

The following changes have already come into play:

  • The annual increase in compensation limits. The maximum compensatory award for unfair dismissal is now £74,200 and the limit on a week’s pay is now £450.
  • The provision for harassment and discrimination statements and questionnaires has now been abolished.
  • Unpaid Parental Leave has increased from 13 weeks to 18 weeks (the annual limit of 4 weeks remains in place).
  • The collective redundancy consultation period in cases involving more than 100 dismissals, has been reduced from 90 days to 45 days.

The Employment Tribunals and the Employment Appeal Tribunal Fees Order 2013 is now ready to be viewed.  There are two main points to be pulled out of the Order as follows:

  • The 'hearing fee' will fall due on a date set out in the employment tribunal's notification of hearing date.
  • The Order does not give a definitive consequence for a failure to pay the hearing fee.  It appears as though it could be inferred through various other paragraphs within the Order that the penalty will be a strike out. Hopefully, clarification will be provided through the Procedural Regulations.

On 25 April, the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act 2013 received Royal Assent and the BIS have released a press release detailing that on 25 June 2013, the following will come into force:

  • Changes to whistleblowing laws (introducing a public interest element, removing the requirement that the disclosure must be made in good faith, imposing vicarious liability on employers for detriments by employees on other workers).
  • Removing the 2-year qualifying period for unfair dismissal where the main reason for dismissal is the employee's political opinions or affiliations.

Commencement dates are still awaited for:

  • confidential termination negotiations (expected summer 2013)
  • new caps on the compensatory award (expected summer 2013)
  • fees for bringing Tribunal claims (expected summer 2013)
  • the new Tribunal Rules (expected Summer 2013)
  • employee shareholder status (expected 1 September 2013)
  • changes to TUPE (expected October 2013)
  • Acas early conciliation (expected 2014)
  • financial penalties for employers (expected 2014)
  • changes to Equality Act (no indications known)

As ever, we will keep you updated of any further developments or delays in next month's release.